Posted in A to Z Challenge 2019

#AtoZ Challenge; Z is for Zaro Weil

Zaro Weil lives in an old farm on a little hill in southern France, and her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, Mud, Moon and Me, published by Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA, which can be bought here. Her book Firecrackers, Troika, illustrated by Jo Riddellcan be bought here, and her lovely new book, Cherry Moon is just out and available here! Zaro’s website is here.

Zaro has sent this wonderful poem for the poetry feast:

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HIDE AND SEEK

I decided to play a game with quiet

hide and seek

my turn

I slipped into the woods

looking for quiet

instead

a cacophony of forest-crackle

a hullabaloo of beast-babel

sprang towards me while

a tweedledum of pandemonium

circled above

it was a free-for-all

and even the sun

jangled copper

between the leaves

so much for the forest

I went to the sea

searching for quiet

but the waves trumpeted

a rumbling ruckus

a crash of crinkle-crests while

squarking gulls sky-dived into

wind-trembled sea and

tiny sea things zig-zagged

underfoot as a medley of

fat green seaweed

slapped the sand

non-stop non-stop

so much for the sea

but then I turned

and quiet tagged me

I stopped

forest stopped

sea stopped

I found quiet

it must have been hiding

the whole time

inside my words

inside of me

.

© Zaro Weil

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Children’s Poets’ Climate Change Blog: Be the Change

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Posted in Poetry Awards

North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards Shortlist for Poetry Announced

This award is voted for by teachers who use poetry in the classrooms, so it is thrilling to even be nominated.

Here are this years shortlisted books in the poetry category:

#NSTBAs team go all out; the longlist reviews all the books (poetry and fiction and non-fiction) in wonderful detail, and the shortlisted books are all pictured with fabulously cute dogs, making the whole process very, very special.

The organisation involved in getting Lady and Mungo dressed in the correctly coloured bows to set off each book alone must be epic!

Here’s each book in detail:

I’m thrilled to be involved in this shortlisting with lovely Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens. The work involved in writing and shaping all these poems into the animals they are about took months and months of back-breaking work, and it’s wonderful to have it recognised! This book was published by Bloomsbury, who have made a beautiful hardback book on quality paper with two colour printing to properly show off the loveliness inside! Artwork by Lorna Scobie.

Matt Goodfellow‘s first entry on the shortlist is his wonderful single voice book, Chicken on the Roof. Matt has a sensitive and lyrical way with words, and Otter-Barry, the publisher, always do a fine job with quality paper and excellent illustrations, in this case by Hannah Asen.

Zaro Weil’s fabulous Firecrackers is an amazing bumper book of poems, wordplay and stories with gorgeous illustrations by Jo Riddell. It is published by Troika in association with ZaZa Books in an eye-catchingly large format hardback.

And lastly – I’m over the moon to be shortlisted again for this award with The Same Inside, with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, both also shortlisted twice. The Same Inside is a book of poems all about empathy, tolerance, kindness, and love; there are poems in here to spark conversations and opinions about many sensitive subjects that are or could be worrying our young people today. It was hard to write! But a subject dear to our hearts. The publisher is the long-time stalwart of children’s poetry, Macmillan, with a wonderful cover by Debbie Powell.

The winner is announced on November 10th at the award ceremony.

Posted in A to Z Blog Challenge 2018

W is for Zaro Weil, Children’s Poet and Author, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

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Zaro Weil

Zaro Weil lives in an old farm on a little hill in southern France with her husband and two sheepdogs, Spot and Clementine, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, hares and loads more. She has been a lot of things; dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector and historian, author, publisher to mention a few! Her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, Mud, Moon and Me published by Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA. Mud Moon and Me can be bought here. Her newest book Firecrackers, Troika, illustrated by Jo Riddellcan be bought here. Zaro’s website is here.

Here is a lovely poem by Zaro:

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THINK OF IT

 

think of it

 

the first shudder of damp

somehow signalled

all was ready

then in the deep inside of earth

in the muted underneath of winter

spring began

 

not with a sudden trumpet of green

or a sky of confetti blossoms

but with a seed

small pale and barely breathing

 

it lay quietly

waiting for the lavender clouds

that carry the first warm rains

till for some reason as ancient and

everyday as the sun itself

 

the seed cracked

split and softly burst into

a faint tendril

a root a sprout

a thin wisp of a growing thing

and with no thought of stopping

it pushed through the

dark soil with the force of

a billion winter winds

until it

 

pierced the crust of the outside and

split the frozen armour of earth

which has held spring safe

since time began

.

© Zaro Weil

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Posted in Poet's Piece

Why I Like Poetry, by Zaro Weil

Zaro Weil lives in an old farm on a little hill in southern France with her husband and two sheepdogs, Spot and Clementine, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, hares and loads more. She has been a lot of things; dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector and historian, author, publisher and a few others. All of which I would say fit into being a poet like a hand fills a glove.

She has written several books including a book of children’s poetry, ‘Mud, Moon and Me’ published by Orchard Books, UK and Houghton Mifflin, USA. Her poetry for children has appeared in many anthologies. Zaro’s new book, illustrated by Jo Riddell, with poetry, little plays, tall tales, raps, fairy tales, and haiku is here.

Here she kindly shares her article, Why I like Poetry:

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THE WAY I LOOK AT IT (POETRY I MEAN)

 

THE WAY I LOOK AT IT…

I like to write poetry.

One reason is because I think in pictures. A lot of people think in pictures. It’s MAGIC. It’s like dreaming when you’re awake.

And when you write poetry, you can figure out how all these unrelated pictures can come together and become an exciting brand new picture. A poem. A poem which you express with words; words which don’t necessarily follow a normal logical order.

It’s something totally surprising and totally YOURS.

Not to mention electrifying. It’s like pulling a white rabbit out of  a hat. Only the hat is your head and the white rabbit is this poem that’s been waiting inside you anxious to jump out.

Another reason I like to write poetry is because sometimes when I see something, it makes such an impression on me – a WOW moment – that I want to remember it forever.

Example.  One day I look out of our kitchen window and see the neighbour’s cats playing in the snowy garden. That night I can’t help it. I think about those two cats over and over. It makes me smile. Suddenly the first few lines of the poem jump into my head:

Two pussycats

Playing

Pawed in my

Snowgarden

People have many ways of creating poetry.

Here’s how I do it.

MY MAGICAL POETRY MIX

First I take all kinds of pictures from my mind that don’t seem to go together. Sometimes I don’t even think very hard because the pictures just pop, spin, fly, slide, bounce, and roll into my brain for some reason.

Suddenly this strange group of images are somersaulting around in my head. And nothing makes any logical sense. SO, I make comparisons – I find ways to link the images. I compare a blue blue sky to a field of summer bluebells or to my friends’ sparkly blue eyes.  In my mind they are all alike in some way because they are all too blue to be true. Or I compare the sunrise to a big orange beach ball bouncing in slow motion over the horizon or to a galloping unicorn anxious to start the day. I used this idea of a unicorn in one of my favourite poems that’s in FIRECRACKERS. This unicorn was drawn by the wonderful artist who created all the pictures for the book, Jo Riddell.

 

And then PRESTO it becomes totally another way of seeing things – my own private way. There are a million and one images to compare and another million and one images to compare them to. And more. Much, much more. But the truth is creating poems is a puzzle; an imaginative word and idea puzzle, one which is totally fun and intriguing to work out.

NEXT

I keep saying the image words and phrases in my head over and over and re-arranging them on paper or on screen, like furniture in the living room, until I like how they all work together. And as I repeat these words over and over (and often out loud) to myself, eventually I discover the poem’s true secret beat; it’s special rhythm which makes the poem sound just like it should.

Here it’s super-important to learn to trust what you like. After all, you write to make someone happy first of all and that someone is YOU!

NOW THE WORDS BEGIN TO FEEL…

MORE LIKE A POEM


(This is a page from my beautifully bruised and battered old poetry notebook. These crazy scribbles eventually turned into Comet, which appears in my new book, FIRECRACKERS. Funny, isn’t it?)

SOMETIMES the words can rhyme and that is fun. Sometimes they don’t. It depends on what I feel like doing with the words and ideas that day. Or rather what the words and ideas feel like doing with me that day.

Poetry is funny like that.  You have to be open to it. In other words, you (the you you know very well) can’t always control what goes in or out of your brain. A poet has to trust that there are things they don’t know and wait for the ideas or words from their secret selves to pop out. (This is the tantalising and mysterious part of the whole thing.)

THEN after combining the pictures, the words, and the sounds in an order that I choose, the poems turn out to have a particular meaning.  This meaning reflects how I am feeling at any one time. So my poems can be funny, or sad, or unsettling, or lovey, or worried, or silly, or frightened, or bittersweet, or happy.  Or a host of other things as well.  And sometimes really not even that obvious to me at first.

FINALLY here is the key thing in my magical poetry world. When I am writing, I know deep down I have something I really want to say.  But believe it or not, I don’t always know what it is.  So, I keep on writing and finally, if I am lucky and the stars are with me, I arrive at exactly what I mean to say. And there is kind of epiphany!  An AHA moment. The moment when the poem flies across the plate like a home run and makes sense.And that is the most exciting thing.

To have figured out a little bit of what is going on inside me.

To have created something exciting and new.

And to have found a personal link between me and the whole world out there.

That’s why I like poetry so much – it is a wonderful puzzle to work out and the results are totally unexpected and totally strange and always and forever MAGICAL.